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Provider Status Bill Reintroduced in Congress

By Paul Abramowitz posted 01-28-2015 14:16

Happy New Year! As we enter 2015 we can reflect on the success we had with last year’s introduction of pharmacists’ provider status legislation, H.R. 4190. This legislation, which enjoyed great support by both Republicans and Democrats, would amend the Social Security Act to recognize pharmacists as Medicare Part B providers working within their state scopes of practice in the large number of medically underserved areas—both urban and rural—throughout the United States.

I am happy to report that this important piece of legislation, now known as the “Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act,” was reintroduced today by Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-KY.), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Todd Young (R-IN.), and Ron Kind (D-WI). To add to that, we anticipate a companion bill will be introduced in the U.S. Senate by a bipartisan group of Republican and Democratic senators very soon. Now that’s the way to start the New Year off right!

ASHP and our members have taken a major leadership role in bringing this legislation to fruition and to helping advance it through Congress. The fact that all ASHP members provide exceptional care as generalists and specialists in hospitals, clinics, and other settings has made this effort possible, and it has clearly paid off. These efforts by our stellar members who are already serving as patient care providers have been a shining example to Congress of what pharmacists can do to advance healthcare and improve patients’ lives. I am absolutely certain as I look to the future when provider status for pharmacists becomes the law of the land that ASHP members will lead the way in implementing the law and will serve as a source of inspiration to the entire healthcare community.

I would also like to recognize the efforts of our exceptional ASHP staff team that has worked tirelessly behind the scenes with Congress, CMS, and other stakeholders for more than a decade to lay the groundwork for this historic moment of opportunity. We couldn’t have gotten here without them! Regarding outreach and support from other stakeholders, the recent report by the National Governors Association expressed strong support for the expanding roles of pharmacists, including recognizing pharmacists as Medicare providers.

However, before we declare victory on behalf of our patients, we have a lot of work to do through 2015. It is absolutely vital that every ASHP member continue to reach out to their members of Congress to express their support and to ask them to co-sponsor (or thank them if they’re already co-sponsoring) this important legislation. Further, we need you to form local coalitions with other patient and healthcare professional groups and colleagues you work with to get their support and to tell your stories as pharmacists and patient care providers through editorials and op-eds in your local newspapers, blogs, and social media outlets. You can attend political rallies, fundraisers, and other events with your members of Congress and the Senate to ask them to support the legislation and to talk with them about how this legislation will help patients in your community and state. You can also support the ASHP PAC, which provides ASHP with the ability to support members of Congress who support your interests as pharmacists and patient care providers. Most importantly, we want you to know that ASHP is here to support you every step of the way. Please visit ASHP’s advocacy center, and don’t hesitate to contact ASHP’s government affairs team.

ASHP continues to be a key leader in the Patient Access to Pharmacists’ Care Coalition (PAPCC), which currently includes almost every national pharmacy organization and a growing number of other influential stakeholders. The PAPCC will work to grow the national coalition, advocate to Congress, and create media campaigns in support of provider status.

I know you recognize the excitement and importance associated with this historic legislation, and the collective and individual role you will play in seeing the legislation get passed into law. I look forward to updating you again soon and to seeing all the great things you will be doing in your organizations, communities, and states now and in the coming months to support the legislation.

Thank you for all that you do on behalf of your patients and for being members of ASHP.


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02-10-2015 11:56

Thanks for the feedback, Bill. The best illustration of this can be found in the following map that shows the federally defined medically underserved areas:
As you can see these areas cover much of the United States.
Best Regards,

01-28-2015 16:49

Paul - thank you for this update on provider status bill introductions. A question for your to respond to: what is the practical meaning of "large areas of medically underserved?" What areas of pharmacy practice both community and acute care, will not be affected by this legislation?
william e smith, pharmd, mph, phd, fashp